The Biggest Loser 4, October 16: Beach Party!by Brian Towers -- 10/17/2007
Last week, the competitors all went to Jamaica, where some contestants confusedly thought they were on some sort of vacation. After winning massages in a challenge, the Black Team lost the weigh-in for the first time and twin Jim was sent home. Tonight, we’ll see how brother Bill handles that situation.
Tonight’s episode is 60 minutes long instead of the expected, something that wasn’t announced before I went to press last week. So with no time to waste, voiceover guy kicks things off by telling us that 653 pounds to date. Way to go, gang!
We meet up with the Black Team working out on the lawn. Jillian knows it’s important to build team unity. Meanwhile, Kim is working her charges hard as well. And, as they fumble through a training exercise that seems to involve stacking logs improperly, Bob wonders how he can get his Blue Team to finally win a challenge.
Series host Alison Sweeney opens proceedings by informing the assembled Losers that it’s already time for a challenge! As previewed, the location is indeed a nice, sandy beach. She cryptically tells everyone that the challenge focuses on perseverance, not speed, because weight loss is about perseverance, not speed.
Teams have to carry heavy, bulky frames as far as they can. After the first three have gone, three new teammates are brought in to take over. There are three rounds in all, and results are combined for the trio representing each team. We learn that women carry 60% of their current body weight and men, 75%. The prize is videos from home.
In the first group, Hollie excels by going more than twice as far as Amy and Nicole combined. The participants are changed and the sleds reloaded with the correct weights. For round two, Jez cannot hold the lead, and I think his left hand strap breaks. Kae puts the Blue Team in a very slight lead as the Red Team trails by rather a lot.
Changing the lineup for the anchor leg, a lot of weight is added to every sled – Phil will carry 260 pounds! It soon turns into a contest between two of the most determined contestants, Bill for the Black Team and big Phil for the Reds. And sure enough, Phil makes up the difference and even extends a lead. Eventually Bill has to drop his load and the Red Team wins again.
In a cameo, using a condescending tone, Julie says, “I don’t think the Red Team hasn’t won five out of six challenges, I think Phil has won five out of six challenges.” Like, is Julie the powerhouse of her Black Team? Hardly. I think we’ve found our sand crab!
The next scenes are from the videos from home. It’s sweet stuff, especially when Phil’s daughter kisses the camera good night. All four are reduced to tears.
Jillian pops into the kitchen to offer a cooking tip. It’s to chew lo-cal gum (five calories) while cooking. This way, you’re not going to be grazing while you work!
Meanwhile, Kim is concerned about the quality of workouts her team is putting in. She is especially having trouble motivating David. David doesn’t feel he wants to be pushed, while Kim sees her job as trainer includes pushing her charges to higher levels. It leads to some short, terse words, and he ends up walking away from the team.
Jillian shares some bad news with us – that Hollie’s mother has had a relapse with her leukemia. After breaking the bad news to Hollie, Jillian tells her that she needs to do the right thing for herself. Hollie decides to go home and spend some time with her mother. It means she has to miss the next weigh-in.
At the weigh-in, Alison breaks the sad news that Hollie’s mother passed away a few hours ago. However, it is necessary to continue with the task at hand. Remember, it’s the team’s total percentage of loss that counts, not the raw pound amounts. First on the scale is the Blue Team. The Red Team is weighed second, needing a loss of more than 34 pounds to earn safety from elimination. When their turn comes up, the Black Team hear they need to lose more than 16 pounds to avoid elimination. Here are all the results:
Alison tells us that Hollie was weighed in earlier that day. Actually, everyone is weighed in earlier in the day. The big scale is just a dramatic device for TV, and the true weigh-in occurs under medical supervision. I’ve said that before; but I’m repeating it for the benefit of newer readers.
Alison announces that the Blue Team wins the week, and the Red Team must face Alison in the Elimination Room. Alison informs David that as the biggest loser on the losing team, he is exempt from eviction.
In a move I suspect she now regrets, Kim has a meeting with her team to discuss the upcoming vote. She says, “Phil, when it comes to weight loss percentage, you are second to Kae in this game. And I’ll be honest with you right now – Phil and B are carrying this team, and without them, I am afraid that we are going to go to elimination after elimination after elimination.” Realizing David is immune, Amy angrily responds, “You just threw me under the bus. Why did you do that?”
To me, that was unprofessional and inappropriate behavior by Kim, and Amy showed a lot more restraint than I might have.
Kim concludes with, “So help me God, if you go to a tie, I’m going to come in here SO angry. This is our team’s decision, and you guys better make it!”
One more little goodie – after this last weigh-in, Bill (not Phil) is the leading Loser at this time, with Kae second, then Neil, and then Phil is fourth. She needs to check her spreadsheets!
But let’s get back to the game. As the Red Team assembles in the Elimination Room, body language experts would have a field day with Amy. She looks like she’s about to bite someone… someone named Kim.
Voting proceeds with David. David feels they still need Phil, so he votes for Amy. Amy votes for Phil. Phil returns the favor, making it two-to-one, Amy leading Phil.
Then to the surprise of many, Bryan votes for Phil. Huh?
This means that the power to make the elimination falls to the Blue Team. They file in with their own voting tray, and making the only logical choice, Neil cuts the legs from under the Red Team and reveals that Phil is the one going home.
Shocker! Phil says he’s honored that they consider him a threat, but melts into tears over being sabotaged. He has hugs for all, even Bryan.
In his funeral video, Phil says the show is one of the best experiences he’s ever had. He’s confident he can now attain his goals on his own. Current video shows us he is now a mere 295 pounds, having lost a further 46 pounds for a whopping total of 108 pounds of total weight lost! He trains five days a week and his whole family has lost weight.
My Opinion: I think they voted incorrectly again this week. Phil is very strong in challenges and second best in percent of weight lost, yet still has a large amount of weight he can lose. Conversely, Amy’s low percentage leads only Julie.
I fear the team dynamic of the Red Team is severely damaged. Kim will be upset that they let the Blue Team make the decision for them. Amy will surely have lessened respect for Kim. Although David’s numbers are the same as B’s, he heard that he is also not seen as a main force on the team. If they lose the next weigh-in, will there be two votes to eliminate Kim?
On The CBS Website: After seeing Dr. Jen Kerns on camera last week, I decided to read her blog entries on the CBS website. They are interesting. Among the things I learned is that Neil has what she calls “a pre-stress fracture” in his foot and they are monitoring the activities he takes part in very carefully. I also read about other regular monitoring they perform, currently focusing on hydration and uric acid levels. Initial Body Fat percentages are also listed as the players are eliminated – excluding Jerry, it’s been pretty consistent around the 50% point so far.
She also confirms for us that the second weigh-ins were not held seven days after the initial ones – it was more like ten days. Those extra couple of days may have helped contestants achieve those record-breaking losses – not that I belittle their impressive efforts in any way! Dr. Jen writes, “A more realistic number for the typical viewer at home (if you cut your caloric intake by about 500 calories a day and exercise vigorously for about an hour a day)” is to lose “1% of your body weight per week.”
You might want to check the blogs out. Alison’s offers an interesting view to the show as well, and she tells us of some of her off-camera interactions with the contestants.
Next Time: My current information is that 90-minute episodes of The Biggest Loser return next week, airing again at 8:30. Or, maybe not. For a preview, drag your cursor across the area between the square brackets below. Don't do that if you prefer to remain spoiler-free! [ A variation of the game of poker changes the future of the competition! (Yes, that’s a bit hyperbolic for me; I’m just paraphrasing. ]
Join me here for a recap of all the action, sprinkled with my own reactions and opinions. And let me know what you think about it all at the eAddress below!
Born and raised in Toronto, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email.
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